Base pricing for the Lincoln Corsair starts at $46,700 in Canada.
The Corsair Grand Touring is the plug-in hybrid version and it’s priced from $59,700.
Stay away from options to maximize your return on investment.
I’ve hated on plug-in hybrids since before they became a somewhat common powertrain option. The reasoning is simple: They are far too expensive, offer limited EV range, and are constantly burdened with a 600-700+lb battery that negates any efficiencies delivered by the short EV range. With the new Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring, I swept my prejudices aside.
The Grand Touring is the plug-in hybrid version of Lincoln’s small premium SUV. It harbors a 14.4kWh battery pack that is, apparently, capable when fully charged, of propelling the Corsair over a distance of 45km without calling upon the petrol engine. Said mill is an Atkinson-cycle naturally aspirated 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that, combined with the electric motor, develops all of 266hp. The transmission is an eCVT automatic. The final fact here, the test drive occurred in late June in absolutely ideal weather and driving conditions.
Efficiency becomes a way of life
Ok, so misgivings aside, I set out to fully adhere to the PHEV lifestyle and deal with the ups and downs that are inherent with this technology. The first thing I did was plug it in on every possible occasion. More than once, loaded up to 100%, the indicated range was 55km, likely based on my imposed hypermiling driving. Unfortunately, not once was I able to crack 40km of range. In fact, the 55km range was reduced by more than 10km after traveling only 1km. Even so, 40km isn’t too bad.
On two occasions, I covered more than 40km. In one of these instances, I took advantage of a few of the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring’s multiple drive modes. As I was about to take the highway, I locked out the remaining range using “Preserve EV.” Once near my destination, I selected Pure EV mode. This time, I did not charge upon my arrival and quickly headed back out on the road. My indicated fuel consumption average was 3,2L/100km which is astounding. However, with my range depleted, the indicated average quickly rose on my return trip.
This is where the main issue with PHEVs arises. The Grand Touring’s battery weighs an eye-watering 700lbs which negatively affects fuel efficiency – weight is always the enemy. Thanks to my revised mindset, the moment I got home, it began sucking down electrons.
By the end of my week with the 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring, I’d covered roughly 350km at a returned average of only 3.6L/100km. At the time, a litre of petrol sold for more than $2,15 which put a smile on my face. Realistically, this PHEV is a 6.5-7L/100km vehicle, as rated by Lincoln.
The PHEV bottom line…
Basically, it’s exactly as I’ve always said. If you, as the owner/operator, are prepared to shackle yourself to the PHEV’s limitations, you will thoroughly enjoy the fuel savings. More precisely, once you’ve ponied up a massive $10,000 premium (before incentives) for the technology in the Corsair, then you will reap the rewards.
Be warned however as, as noted and despite the rated 45-km range, I was never able to cover more than 40km on a charge in ideal conditions. Here in Canada, it gets cold and the EV range will severely plummet between three and four months per year and drop for another three months or so. Fuel efficiency will also drastically be affected.
Incentives, depending on the province, can be as high as $5,000 meaning that it will still take a few years and many tens of thousands of kilometers to make up the difference.
Good performance and lovely ride
The aforementioned 266hp output positions the Grand Touring’s power between the available 2.0T and 2.3T EcoBoost 4-cylinder engines. The extra weight means that performance is fair. What’s more, the eCVT is ultra-smooth and all but completely invisible when in use.
Refinement, specifically, is the 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring’s MO. As part of the package, this version of the compact SUV includes an adaptive suspension that elevates its on-road behaviour to the next class. The cabin’s impressively quiet especially when in EV mode and this even at highway speeds.
The lesser bits pertaining to the drive are noticeable understeer even at reasonable speeds and the ultra-numb steering that forcibly wants to return on-center if released too quickly.
The small premium SUV is loaded with options, and many do or will offer hybrid or PHEV variants. Think of the Alfa Romeo Tonale, Audi Q3, BMW X1 and X2, Cadillac XT4, Genesis GV70, Jaguar E-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLA and GLB, Porsche Macan, Range Rover Evoque, Volvo XC40 and, go ahead, catch your breath.
At fault here is not the Corsair itself, but the 2022 $59,700 Grand Touring. Despite including a number of features, a Lexus NX 350h is $10k less expensive than the PHEV and is more fuel efficient. If you insist on a PHEV, the NX 450h+ retails for $59,950, is more powerful and its EV range is rated at 60km. Note: Wait times for the NX are very long. And then, there’s the tested unit. At about $71,000 with options, it is priced on par with a well-equipped fully-electric Volvo XC40 Recharge – that’s a deal breaker.
Finally, the only Corsair Grand Touring to consider is a base model. It still includes a 12.3-inch digital IP, an 8-inch touchscreen, power-heated leather-covered front seats, a panoramic sunroof, 19-inch wheels, and much more. Just don’t add to it.